News

Challenger Update

Here is an excerpt from our most recent Challenger publication.

Recently one of BIEM’s dear friends, Pastor Peter Rumachik, passed away. This Challenger includes a special tribute to his life. For the rest of the article, please read the Challenger!

If you were asked to name just one Christian from our time who had lived an exemplary life for God despite great pressure, which one would you name? For many believers around the globe, the choice would be Peter Vasilievich Rumachik.

On January 29, this faithful servant of God (and long- time friend of BIEM) passed to his eternal reward at the age of 87. But who was Peter Rumachik? What makes him so respected among believers? Let’s glorify God by taking a brief look at how He led in Peter’s life.

Early life

Peter was born in the Soviet Union in 1931, the period when Stalin’s atheistic government was already working to strangle the church and eradicate faith in God. Because his mother was a Christian, Peter heard the Gospel from a young age. He and his closest childhood friend Victor regularly met to read the Bible together.

So, even as a boy, Peter believed in God, and he understood the only way to Heaven was by God’s grace through faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet, he saw the reality as the atheistic authorities imprisoned active Christians, confiscated Bibles, and seized places of worship. Understanding how difficult life could be for a Christian in the Soviet Union, at age 16 Peter made a decision about becoming a child of God. “Not right now, and not even in my youth or when I’m middle aged, but I’ll follow the path of Christ when I am per- haps 50 or 60.”

However when his best friend died at age 18, Peter realized he had no guarantee of living to old age. He could die any time. Three months later, cutting through snowy woods, he knelt in the snow and prayed, putting his trust in Jesus Christ. In 1948 he was baptized.

Becoming active

Peter once recalled, “From the very beginning of my turning to the Lord, I believed deeply in my Savior, loved Him, and strove to serve Him in any way.”

The period from 1955– 1960 became particularly memorable for him. During those years he played an active role in preaching and assisting to start a house church in the Moscow suburb of Dyedovsk. By the end of the 1950s, the authorities had fined Peter and the other preachers multiple times. In 1961 the authorities began conducting searches of their homes. The authorities brought criminal charges against Peter and four others: starting an illegal church, holding crowded meetings in a home, allowing children to be present at church, and for disobedience to the VSEKhB (the government-registered and controlled group of Evangelical Christian- Baptist churches). He and the others were put on trial and punished by being exiled to Siberia’s primitive Krasnoyarsk region.

Continued in the Challenger.

 

May Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/336577337

Dear Pastors and Friends,

Thank-you for your prayers for our missions conference focusing on Central Asia in Kiev earlier this month. God answered those prayers, and the conference was a tremendous blessing and exceeded our expectations. Praise God!

Our May video update features this conference which was incorporated in the May Session of our Seminary in Kiev. There was a strategic purpose in this since there is a consensus among those involved in missions that Ukrainians are best suited to work as missionaries in Muslim Central Asia. They share the Russian language in common, they are in close proximity, and most of all, they are neither American nor Russian.


The Ukrainians received the information enthusiastically as conference speakers, including some from Central Asia, spoke about the need and what God is doing in these places. We praise God that at least 5 responded with a serious interest to serve in these lands. Please pray that God would enable and direct them in this path as well as others who are praying about volunteering as well.

In Christ,
Sam & Amy Slobodian



BIEMs of Light May 2019

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • In April, BIEM missionary Vitaly Keller and others were able to set up a display on a main street in Kyiv, Ukraine. The collection consisted of framed works of Christian art. Using any painting, the display provided opportunities to share the Gospel with passersby. Evangelism—may God water the seeds sown in those conversations!

  • The building that BIEM helped the church in Ternopil, Ukraine, to buy now has new Sunday school rooms. Men from the church refurbished rooms that had remained in rough, unfinished condition after the purchase. They turned out beautifully and are in service!

  • Two different times recently, children of BIEM missionaries Sergei and Vika Skripnik landed in their local hospital. Praise God, neither occasion turned out to be serious, but both occasions gave opportunities to share the Gospel with others!

  • Our missionary in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, Bruce Tuttle, is thrilled with his Bible students’ receptivity and eagerness to learn. They are halfway through 6 semesters of studies. Bruce says, “Pray that every course will have a part in building the character, wisdom, abilities, and spiritual passion of our students.”

Prayer - Pray with us!

  • In May, BIEM plans to hold a missions conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. A main goal is to increase understanding of the needs and opportunities in the Muslim lands of Central Asia. Please pray God will use this conference to raise up more laborers for those regions.

  • Julia, the wife of one of our missionaries in a Muslim nation, is in her 8th month of a very difficult pregnancy. Please pray for both her and the child to remain safe and healthy.

  • Elections in Ukraine recently brought a new president to that nation. Unfortunately, corruption has been a deep-rooted problem in Ukraine. While no one can promise this new administration can defeat the corruption, Scripture tells us, The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Therefore, please pray that God will see fit to direct the newly elected leadership in ways that are righteous, especially that the current state of full religious freedom would continue in Ukraine. The blessing of this freedom has greatly aided missionary work in this needy land.

  • Funds for summer camps are slowly trickling in. We currently have $11,403 of the $40,000 needed. Please pray for God to supply the remaining $28,597 through His people.

April Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/330796929

Dear Pastors and Friends,

Warm greetings in Christ! This month's video update features what BIEM is doing to help the needy in Ukraine's war zone which is along the east, bordering Russia. There are about 20 churches in that area that we fellowship and work with through the Brotherhood of Independent Baptist Churches of Ukraine. On this video you will see Pastor Sergii Sheptala, whose residency in the war zone permits him access to this embattled area and Sergii Debelinsky, who is the president of the Brotherhood. 

Funds given for clothing, food, coal for heating, and other needs are distributed by the churches not only to their own members but also to those in their community. Since the Gospel is presented along with distributing the aid, many souls are being saved, and several of these churches now have baptized believers in their membership through these efforts. Please consider helping with this need by designating gifts as "Aid for Ukraine."

In Christ, 

Sam & Amy Slobodian



BIEMs of Light April 2019

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • When doctors told new believer Elena in Lvov, Ukraine her cancer would kill her in less than two months, she had one wish: to be baptized and glorify God. BIEM’s Yura Levtseniuk arranged for her to be baptized immediately. Believers and relatives attended and heard Elena’s glowing testimony. Three days later, she was with the Lord. God still saves souls!

  • In Kyiv, the Kellers rejoice: “Our little house church has multiplied by two. We prefer not to call it division, since we have multiplied purposefully to make room for new people to come. We decided to multiply every time there are more than 20 of us in one location.”

  • In Chernigiv, Ukraine, the Savchuks’ church continues their new outreach to orphans at a mental hospital. Although not always an easy ministry, the children are always glad to see them, and this work has become a special type of evangelism for this young church.

  • Over the years, ministry friends have donated guitars, orchestra instruments, and even pianos for BIEM to ship to Eastern Europe for ministry. One church in Kyiv, Ukraine, has formed a saxophone quintet using all donated instruments, and the musicians provide special music at services. Thank you to all of you who have donated good, used instruments for churches. If you have a musical instrument to donate, we can use more!

Prayer - Pray with us!

  • With spring in full swing, the children’s camp season will soon be upon us.  Each year, God greatly blesses these camps for kids and teens with salvation decisions and strengthened faith in young ones growing in the Lord. Please pray that we will receive the target amount of $40,000 needed before the first camps in June. Currently we have $3,527.

  • One of our couples in the Republic of Georgia reports some conflicts and tensions among people attending the church. Please pray for peaceful resolutions and that the name of the Lord not be tarnished. Also, a woman who has translated many materials from English to Georgian for them has stepped down for health reasons. Pray for a qualified replacement.

  • In Yucay, Peru, Juan Bautista Huillca Quispe is happy that his country has religious liberty. However, he notes that his particular area is steeped in religion and customs that create barriers for the Gospel. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to open eyes and draw souls to Christ.

  • One of our missionaries in Russia (it’s best if we not name him or his city) wrote to say: “We need wisdom and strength to fulfill God’s commission in difficult times.” He and his family use a number of methods to meet and evangelize the lost. Please pray for them as they share the Good News, both with ethnic Russians and with Muslims coming for work.

March Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/325255924

Dear Pastors and Friends, 

Greetings!  This month's video update comes from the military city of Desna and features Igor Fomichov, who is the pastor of the church there. The large military shower facility happens to be right next to their church. Therefore thousands of soldiers are marched past the church building every week on their way to the showers. Brother Igor came up with a plan of using this as an opportunity for evangelism by mounting a Bible verse on their building.  

He began to share this idea with others asking for some ideas of what would be the best Bible verse to use.  Eventually, someone suggested rather that than mounting just one verse, they should mount a digital LED outdoor screen. This would have the ability not only to change verses from time to time but could also display an invitation to attend the church and show the times of the services as well as special events. Folks began to get excited about the possibilities and then one day God provided the funds for this project. Praise the Lord!

In Christ, 

Sam & Amy Slobodian



BIEMs of Light March 2019

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • On Feb. 20 BIEM’s David Cateam (Central Asia) underwent surgery, which he calls “a miracle blessing.” Months earlier doctors had told him he had an irreversible decompensated bladder. They predicted tubes, bags, and catheters the rest of his days. But God sent a Christian doctor who made a referral to a leading surgeon who performed a “perfect” operation, giving David his normal life back! Grateful for praying friends and this amazing answer, he says, “Our ministry continues by God’s grace for God’s glory.”

  • Praise God for the new BIEM church planter that has been appointed in Latin America.  Douglas Serrudo Quispe, his wife Julia, and daughter Heidi have begun their ministry in Cuzco, Peru.  Please pray that souls will be saved and that a strong church will be established in this place.

  • In the Republic of Georgia, the Hoblitzes are excited at how God has been growing their church. Two newer members are young men who escaped persecution in other lands and have become active in the church’s evangelism team to their community!

  • God is continuing to bless the puppet ministry of the church in Chervona Sloboda, Ukraine.  Church planter Vitaly Yurchenko reports that last month they had 15 different Evangelistic Puppet presentations in schools, orphanages, churches and other children’s institutions.

Prayer - Pray with us!

  • More evangelistic services emphasizing widows have been held in Belarus, and a couple more are planned for the near future. Please pray for God to enlighten those invited, so they will appreciate not only the gift bag of groceries, but also the love of Christ and His offer of salvation. May souls come to him through these outreaches.

  • In Chernigiv, Ukraine, BIEM’s Lyosha and Alusia Savchuk and others from their church made an initial visit to an orphanage near them. Praise God, the administration appreciated this visit, which included a presentation of the Gospel. Please pray they can start a regular ministry here.

  • This month our national missionaries Vitaly and Olena Yurchenko will be visiting a number of American churches with Sam Slobodian. Please pray for safety during travels, but even more importantly that God will be glorified as they bring firsthand reports from the fields.

  • Many have been praying for Sam and Amy Slobodian's grandson Noah Harvey ever since he had his heart transplant.  The Harveys are now facing some new challenges. A website has been launched where you can get more information. It is www.COTAforMightyNoah.com/

     

February Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/316168759

Dear Pastors and Friends, 

Our dear brother in Christ, Peter Rumachik, went to be with the Lord on January 30th. This same day we were already heading for Moscow from Ukraine so we had the wonderful opportunity and privilege of attending the funeral on Saturday February 2nd. This month's video features this funeral. Brother Peter was 87 years old and spent the very last days of his life ministering in Shahovskaya with the new church planted there. He preached there that Sunday and spent a lot of time calling on folks with brother Andrei, the church planter he recruited for this church. After returning home, he passed away during the night. 

We praise God for the life of this dedicated servant of God who was a blessing and example to all of us. He spent 18.5 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps because of his uncompromising faith in the Lord. 

Pastor Peter Rumachik played a huge role in our ministry in Russia. Many churches were planted and church buildings built through the fruitful partnership we had together for many years. Our next Challenger will share more about brother Peter. 

In Christ, 

Sam & Amy Slobodian



Andrei and Anna Eliseev

Eliseev Prayer Card 1.jpg

Andrei serves as Director of the Christian Rehabilitation Center located just outside Ternopil, Ukraine. In this role, he and his fellow ministers at the center have been used of God to free men from their dependencies on drugs and alcohol. Even more important, the Lord has blessed them with opportunities to free men from the bonds of sin and to lead them to new life in Jesus Christ! Anna doesn't work directly with the rehabilitates, but supports her husband in this ministry and is involved in their local church.

For more information about the Eliseevs and their ministry, please contact our office.


Yura and Violetta Levtseniuk

Levtseniuk Prayer Card.jpg

Yura, Violetta, Aaron, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Levtseniuk have been called into ministry in the city of Lvov in western Ukraine, where Yura pastors Salvation Baptist Church. In the excerpt below, Yura shares the story of how God called him and his wife into ministry.

“Before telling about the ministry in Lvov, I’ll share how the Lord called us here. God called me to serious ministry to unbelievers, to people seeking God, and to church members. I began with ministry to children and teens, then to youth and adults. I’ve been serving thus for some years already. I’d recognized my great need for understanding theology and practical disciplines. I saw my lack of knowledge of the Bible despite the fact that I’d been reading and studying it since childhood.

For these specific reasons, I enrolled in Bible college. Praise God, for the theological education I received. As a family, we were invited to join a short-term mission trip to the Far East of Russia, with the goal of revitalizing a church that had sunk into spiritual weakness. God granted us success in that mission, for which we are very thankful to Him. As a result of that, we felt God’s calling to establish a new church for Christ.

The members and deacons of a small congregation named “Salvation” invited us to Lvov. We began to pray concerning this ministry. As a family, we traveled from Dubno, Ukraine, to Lvov to hold a service. This church invited us to come, and this is where we have been ministering for the past three months. The Lord has blessed us with new people, who have received Jesus Christ into their hearts and are now preparing for baptism. This is a great joy for us.”

 

2018

Sasha and Ira Petrenko

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The Petrenkos serve as church planters in Goncharovsk, Ukraine, a town that is known primarily for the nearby military base. Their ministry includes various ways of meeting others and getting involved in the local community, such as Bible studies, cooking classes, and organizing a local floor hockey team. In the summertime, they team up with church planters in other cities and together they run summer camps for children and teens. Brother Peterenko, along with a couple other nearby BIEM church planters, is starting a new church in the nearby town of Smolen. This will be the fourth church planted by BIEM in the Chernihiv region.

2019

2018

Prayer Request

BIEM church planter Vitaly Bilyak and a team of dedicated children’s workers have launched a new orphanage ministry in Ternopil, Ukraine. They have made several trips to a nearby orphanage and established good rapport with the director. Now that a ministry team is in place, please pray for this monthly outreach to the nearly 150 needy orphans.

BIEMs of Light February 2019

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • Our dear brother in Christ, Peter Rumachik, has gone to be with the Lord. We praise God for the life of this dedicated servant of God who was a blessing and example to all of us. He spent 18.5 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps because of his uncompromising faith in the Lord. The funeral was Feb. 2. Our next Challenger will share more about brother Peter.

  • The winter session of Kyiv Theological Seminary is now completed. Subjects included “Bibliology,” “Holiness,” “Exegesis,” “Hermeneutics,” and “Methods of Teaching.” We praise the Lord, both for God-fearing instructors and for eager students, who immediately begin applying in their personal ministries the things they learn in the Seminary.

  • As one of our missionaries in Central Asia recently wrote, “This past year has been one with smattered bouts of intense persecution for some of our national church-planting families, but as always followed by waves of blessings.” We praise God for those blessings, and for strengthening those whom this world has tried to intimidate into silence.

  • In Belarus, BIEM missionary Nikolai Ryzhuk expresses thanks for you, BIEM friends. After describing a special evangelistic service held in Brest for orphans (with 250 present, 85% unbelievers), Nikolai writes, “Praise the Lord that in the West there are sweet, kind, sacrificing, and loving people—YOU—who helped us to do this!” We echo his sentiment!

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • In Sepahua, Peru, missionary Wilber Huillca says, “I request prayer, that God will help and give us wisdom in reaching more young people with the Gospel of Christ.” He expresses thanks to the Lord for souls saved through their ministry in 2018 but yearns to see more!

  • BIEM church planter Vitaly Bilyak and a team of dedicated children’s workers have launched a new orphanage ministry in Ternopil, Ukraine. They have made several trips to a nearby orphanage and established good rapport with the director. Now that a ministry team is in place, please pray for this monthly outreach to the nearly 150 needy orphans.

  • For this May, a special missions conference focusing on Central Asia has been planned to coincide with the Spring session of Kyiv Theological Seminary. Please pray that God will bless this effort and call Ukrainians to ministry in Muslim lands.

  • Although it’s still winter, it’s not too early for BIEM’s missionaries to begin planning for summer camps. It’s also not too early to donate to the camp fund. The camping ministry always requires many thousands of dollars, but the camps always make a valuable spiritual impact on young lives. Please pray for finances, for the leaders, and for God to prepare the hearts of children and teens!

Sergei and Vika Skripnik

Skripnik Prayer Card 2018.jpg

For some years, Sergei and Vika Skripnik have served as church planters among villages in western Ukraine. In addition, Vika has organized and led children’s Sunday school classes and Bible classes for public school children. Both have been involved as leaders in Christian summer camps, both in their own area and in other regions of Ukraine. Gospel ministry in villages, where local religious traditions are strong, is not always easy. But the Skripniks have been blessed of God to see souls come to Christ and lives changed for His glory. Brother Sergei also plays an important role in the training of BIEM national church planters and workers. He serves as the assistant director of Kiev Theological Seminary, the school that BIEM operates in partnership with the Brotherhood of Independent Baptist Churches of Ukraine.

For more information on the Skripniks and their ministry, please contact our office.

Mikhail and Natalia Titarenko

Titarenko Prayer Card.jpg

The Titarenkos relocated from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, to the town of Fedorivka. This town had experienced a sudden population increase when some people who were evacuated from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 were resettled here. But because there was no Gospel witness in Fedorivka, the Titarenkos went there to plant a new church. 

For more information about the Titarenkos and their ministry, please contact our office.

January Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/312795760

Dear Pastors and Friends, 

Greetings to you all!   This month's video update comes from Russia and features church planter Pavel Rumachik.  Brother Pavel planted one of our first churches in Russia in Nahabino which is in the Moscow region.   


This effort has had some amazing results.  The first person saved was the area's biggest drug dealer. Deeply burdened by all those he got addicted, he began to bring all kinds of drug addicts, drug dealers, and mafia type people to church to hear the Gospel.  Many were saved and within 2 years the church was more than half made up of recovering drug addicts. This led to the church establishing a drug and alcohol rehab center which over the years has developed into 10 centers.  

The many who have been saved come from all different levels of Russian society.  The scourge of drugs affects both the poor and the rich, the educated and non-educated, women as well as men. One of those saved was a famous athlete so this ministry has become well known and has been covered by local media and led to opportunities to speak to teens in public schools.  Today there are over 50 families who are faithfully serving in Moscow area churches where one or both parents have been saved through this Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation ministry.  Praise God for His wonderful saving grace!

In Christ, 

Sam & Amy Slobodian


BIEMs of Light January 2019

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • We had requested prayer for Ira, the sister of one of our missionaries in Central Asia. Ira had cancer, which required a hysterectomy. Surgeons successfully removed the tumor. However, in the process they also found her left tube was severely infected and about to burst. Praise our Lord that they operated in time to catch that. Thank you for praying!

  • Such a cause for praise! BIEM’s Igor Fomichov shares that, after 18 years of praying for the salvation of his parents, both of them have now placed their faith in Christ! His father is already with the Lord after having accepted Christ early in 2018, and before year’s end, his mother, too, repented. Hallelujah! Never stop praying for loved ones!

  • In Central Asia, a Christian woman needed an operation on her neck during the last week in December. The surgeons were amazed at how smoothly everything went, and she was able to talk quite soon afterward. “Peace” used that opportunity to share her faith in the hospital, where she led two women to Christ!

  • The year 2019 marks 38 years of God leading, guiding, and blessing the ministry of BIEM for His glory. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, but we thank God for blessing in every one of those years. We also praise Him for you who stand with us!

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • Literally all of BIEM’s missionaries have been involved in special evangelistic outreaches for Christmas and New Year. (In Eastern Europe, the Orthodox calendar places Christmas on January 7, so special services and follow-up are still happening.) Please pray for the salvation of souls!

  • Opportunities have opened up to conduct regular ministries in two orphanages in Ukraine. Finances are needed to conduct these outreaches on a regular basis. Please pray about this need so that in hearing the Gospel, these needy children will embrace Christ and gain a Heavenly Father.

  • In Yucay, Peru, missionary Juan Bautista Huillca Quispe also has a vision for evangelizing another nearby town called San Juan. He requests prayer for God’s guidance in that effort.

  • During our Winter Kiev Seminary session this month, plans will be laid for a special missions conference targeting Central Asia in connection with the Spring seminary session.  Please pray that God would enable and bless such a conference for our seminary students.

Challenger Update

Here is an excerpt from our most recent Challenger publication.

In October, BIEM’s newest secretary, Lauren, traveled to Ukraine with members of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Lebanon, Indiana. Here she shares impressions from that trip.

I can honestly say this trip has been the answer to a long-held dream. I went to Ukraine for the first time when I was twelve, and have dreamed of going back ever since.

While I loved many things about this trip — the Ukrainian countryside, traveling, and don’t get me started on the food!—as I look back over my pictures, the people stood out the most.

When I boarded the airplane for this trip, the only people I really knew were Sam and Amy, my coworkers from BIEM. I will admit I was nervous about spending a week and a half with strangers. But God removed that fear immediately. The Lord gave our motley crew great unity. I got to watch our group take care of each other by carrying bags, deciphering names of food, and sharing hair-doing skills.

Our group was made up of ten people from Indianapolis, a couple from Canada, and Sam and Amy. The youngest member of our group was Derek (age eleven). I was next youngest; everyone else was over fifty. One of the couples from Indy was also blind. While in Ukraine, we were accompanied by Eugene (BIEM’s Ukrainian director) and Igor, who served as our drivers. Church planter Lyosha was our interpreter.

Our main purpose for the trip was to participate in widows’ and orphans’ services in a number of the different churches BIEM supports. Some of the services were held in local orphanages or boarding-school facilities. We also had the opportunity to visit two of the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation centers run by BIEM personnel or local pastors. In the process, we did a lot of driving. We stayed in Bilogorodka, just west of Kyiv in the Second Baptist Church of Bilogorodka, pastored by BIEM’s Director for Ukraine, Eugene Buyko.

Our trip was punctuated by excellent meals, great conversations, and so much laughter. As I look at the pictures, I can almost hear the laughter. I know very little Russian and Ukrainian, but every once in a while I would get the jokes.

Since we spent most of the trip traveling hither and yon, we spent a lot of time in the two vans. Combine bad suspension, bumpy roads, and a fully European driver, and it makes for some exciting adventures. I rode in the blue van, driven by Igor Fomichov, one of BIEM’s church planters. Igor and our interpreter Lyosha (another church planter) shared many laughs throughout the trip. And anytime that Sam, Eugene, Igor, and Lyosha get together, laughter is sure to ensue.

And the people. The people are beautiful, from the impulsive hugs of little children to long, broken conversations in the van. We met widows who were so grateful for a simple bag of groceries. We met kids who were excited for gifts and love. I got to reconnect with the wives of several church planters, whom I have met over the past year, when they have visited the BIEM office.

And their stories. Over the course of the trip, we got to hear testimonies from several BIEM church planters and other Christians. From Vitaly Yurchenko surviving being in the affected zone on the day Chernobyl exploded, to Igor Fomichov’s dramatic transformation from a life of drugs and crime, I am so grateful for the grace of our Lord, who sees value in all people, the broken, the prideful, the scared, the disabled, and the criminal.

I have no pictures of one of my favorite parts of the trip. On Friday night, after a long day visiting the Philadelphia Rehab Center in Fastiv, plus the Velykоpolovetske orphanage (an hour away from Fastiv), and finishing with a widows’ service at the River of Life Baptist Church in Fastiv, we were finally heading back to Bilogorodka. It was probably 9:30 at night, and we had an hour and a half drive over fairly bad roads. I was sitting towards the front of the van, chatting with Lyosha and Igor, when Igor asked whether I can sing. Igor’s English is about equal to my level of my Russian — very limited. But many hymns have been translated into Russian. So we sang. We sang all the verses of all the hymns we could remember, and when they knew the songs, the Ukrainians joined in. We sang all the way back. There is something about worship that is beautiful in any language, even if you don’t understand what is being said.

I returned home with a renewed love for a country on the other side of the world, for a language I barely under- stand, and for people I call my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray for these families as they reach out to their communities to impact lives for Christ. Please pray for the continued influence of the connections made through the widows’ services. For many of the widows, it was their first time in church. While many of the widows we interacted with were older, a number were younger women, widowed by the conflict that continues in Eastern Ukraine. And please pray for us who went on the trip, that God would continue to teach us and mold our hearts through this experience.

Throughout the course of this trip, over 700 widows and orphans heard the Gospel and received help. Pastors of the churches involved report they have gained regular attenders from these meetings. May the Lord work in hearts to save souls and make them church members!

 

 

December Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/306188633

Dear Pastors and Friends,

Warm Christmas greetings from the Slobodians! 

This month's video features some of our Ukrainian church planters sharing blessings from the recent special services for widows and orphans that were held in several locations.  The widows enjoyed a meal prepared by the church along with a service where the Gospel was presented.  Each widow received a bag of groceries and those who did not have Bibles were given one.  The children were treated to a special children’s program featuring the Gospel and received a gift box with toys and supplies.  Both the widows and children heard testimonies from the American church group from Indiana that participated in this outreach,

Not only were these meetings a wonderful blessing, but also the news of this expression of Christian love spread throughout the communities which lifted up the testimony of the church.  In one location, the mayor attended, and in another location, a deputy, which is the Ukrainian version of a congressman, participated. 

May God bless you with a blessed Christmas and wonderful New Year!

Sam & Amy Slobodian